This last weekend Melissa and I decided to run in the 10th annual Grin and Bear It Race here in Bend, OR. Umpqua Bank was the presenting sponsor so they were a big part of the race. The Grin and Bear It raises money for Healthy Beginnings of Bend, which offers screenings to all kids zero to five before they enter school. I have never run a standalone 10k race and was excited to finally do so. Melissa and I have now lived in Bend for 4 ½ years, and we have never done one of the smaller running races that Bend has and were excited to finally take part. Leading up to the race I have been running a lot but most of it was at a slower pace. Melissa, on the other hand, has been working out but not running much. Between the two of us, we were excited but did not have any idea what to expect. I hoped to maintain a 7:15 per mile pace and Melissa was aiming more at 11:00 minutes per mile.
The race was also holding a 5k at the same time, and the 10k was just two loops of the 5k course. The race started and ended at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. It consisted of two smaller loops within the larger 5k loop: one loop on the east side of the river and a larger one on the west side. Before the run, I had a Prayer Breakfast with some gentlemen from my church and decided to order something small before the race. I should have known that nothing at Pilot Butte Drive-In is small; my not so small biscuit sandwich was good. I just would end up regretting it a bit later.
Melissa and I wandered down to the race with a couple of minutes to wait around before the start. It was partly cloudy and windy making it warm when the sun was out and cold when it was not. We were more than happy when they finally announced it was time to get ready to run. The 10k started about 100 meters in front of the 5k and there were by far more 5k runners. I lined up in the front and said, “good luck” to Melissa before she moved back into the middle of the starting group. Upon the start, I took off and quickly realized I was in the front group of 8 or so runners. I also realized that I was running a little quick, so I dialed it back to a 6:30 pace after about ½ a mile. I felt like this was something I could manage and tried to stay within distance of the guys just ahead of me. Along the way, I was passed by a couple of the 5k runners but no one from the 10k. The larger loop included some hills which I tried to keep my pace on. Inevitably, I slowed down on the hills but not as much as two of the guys in front of me, after passing them, I realized that I might be in the top 5, crazy!
The trouble with the course is that they run you right by the finish line, I so wanted to be done at that point. My stomach was starting to be angry about breakfast, and I knew I was redlined. Loop two of the course was a bit slower than the first loop as I was now tired but also the winds seemed to be a bit stronger. This may have just been my imagination. I pushed hard and was on the brink of having to puke for some time. It also became evident that minus something crazy I was not going to move up or down in placing so all I had to do was maintain through the finish. I was able to do that and even mustered a bit of a finishing kick to come across in 42 minutes and 8 seconds, a 6:42 pace. I was also informed that I did indeed come in 5th place, which was by far more than I expected.
Melissa told me that she was also having about the same experiences as I was albeit at a slower pace. Her stomach was not happy, and she did not like the wind. She kept up her spirits and kept on plugging along coming in at 1:02:35 and 86th place. There were 119 total finishers, and she told me that during the race she just did not want to finish last. She obviously did not do that and beat her goal with a 10:06 average pace. Afterward, we hung around and enjoyed the small race feel and look forward to hopefully running in some other small events and supporting the local charities they support. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Pearl Izumi Infinity SS Shirt – Pre-run I wished I would have worn the long sleeve shirt but during the run it kept my temperature just about right. I really did not think about it.
- Skora Base Shoes – My first really fast run in the shoes. They have a looser feel but do not feel sloppy. Even at faster speeds the shoes just run smooth.